Jones back at Read's expense November 12, 2006

England swap keepers for Brisbane Test

Cricinfo staff

Geraint Jones: plenty to ponder now he is back in England colours for the Ashes opener © Getty Images

Geraint Jones will replace Chris Read as England's preferred wicketkeeper for the opening Test against Australia, according to Duncan Fletcher, England's coach.

Speaking on the first day of the tour match against New South Wales, Fletcher explained that the selectors, who dropped Jones for Read midway through the recent series against Pakistan, had decided to make another change.

"We just think that he [Jones] handles the pressure better and technically we think he is a better batter out here on these wickets and particularly in Test match cricket," he said. "Those innings of Read's in the Champions Trophy in India did influence us to some degree, we always felt he would be a better batter in one-day cricket and we took that into consideration. But there were also a few innings in England, he's had five knocks there in the one-dayers and the Test matches and we just believe, and it's a very difficult decision, that Jones will do a better job."

Fletcher added that James Anderson was ahead of Sajid Mahmood in the race for a place in the side at Brisbane. "We respect and speak highly of Mahmood but we are concerned about his consistency. And that's one thing when we go into that Test we believe that Jimmy Anderson is a more consistent bowler and we know what we can get out of Jimmy on a day-to-day basis, and that's what we are looking for at this stage."

Both Read and Mahmood had been told the situation. "Their mood is the same as any player you leave out of an England side, they take it pretty hard and in some ways it's nice to see that," Fletcher explained. "I would hate to speak to individuals who seem quite happy about being left out."

Asked about the tussle between Ashley Giles and Monty Panesar for the spinner's place, Fletcher admitted it was still not resolved. "It's going to be a difficult decision and we are looking at playing two spinners in most of the Tests ... we have to give those two individuals as much bowling as possible, especially Ashley who hasn't bowled for a year, just about, and it's crucial that he gets enough overs under his belt as well."